Dining Outside the Home: Café Portofino in Lihue, Kauai! Do you need a reason to love lasagna? Might it be the oven-baked pasta bathed in layers of zesty spices, fresh herbs, meat sauce, and Italian cheese? Just thinking about it is mouth-watering. Well, you don’t need to travel to Northern Italy from the Pacific Ocean. Café Portofino, a beachfront restaurant on Kauai, serves up a plate of happiness and satisfaction by bringing the Italian deliciousness right to your table. Their classic lasagna combination features the rich meat sauce of cravings as well as a creamy white sauce to die for. This is not your ordinary lasagna. Taste it to believe it.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Quartered Chicken with Oranges! If you are fortunate enough to be the recipient of a Fruit-of-the-Month Club, you will not only have premium fresh fruit delivered to your door, but tucked inside the box is a recipe card with serving suggestions. Thanks go out to the families of Brandi and Jennifer! Today’s special features the Cara Cara Orange, which is a sweet seedless variety with interesting undertones of cherry and blackberry. The delightful taste is less acidic than ordinary oranges. And the pinkish-red flesh reminded me of its distant cousin, the blood orange. My compliments to Harry & David.*
QUARTERED CHICKEN WITH ORANGES
2 sections of quartered chicken, leg and thigh portion
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 Cara Cara oranges, quartered
1/2 onion, chopped in chunks
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Preheat oven to 350°. Salt and pepper the chicken on both sides. Place chicken in an iron skillet. Surround it with oranges, onion, and garlic. Rub the chicken well with olive oil. Sprinkle with rosemary leaves and Herbes de Provence. Tuck two sprigs of thyme in between chicken. Bake one hour until golden and internal temperature is 165°.
*I receive no recompense for featuring Harry & David Fruit-of-the-Month.
Dining Outside the Home: Duke’s Kauai in Lihue, Kauai! An open-air view of the deep blue Pacific Ocean may leave you wondering what tasty sea creatures lie beneath the surface. One glance around the dining room may answer that thought. The chefs at Duke’s Kauai respect the Hawaiian tradition of local fishermen. Their catch-of-the-day is determined by the season. It could be Ahi with its steak-like texture seared and crusted in furikake seasoning. Or it may be Ono with its juicy and mild flavor grilled in a spicy sesame-ginger glaze. Other island favorites are always an option. Add vegetables, fruit, and bread selections from their famous salad bar to complete the entree. When it’s all said and done, no one walks away hungry from Duke’s Kauai.
Dining Outside the Home: Paniolo Santa Maria-Style BBQ in Kapaa, Kauai! Everyone loves a barbecue whether it’s the blaze of fire or the smell of the wood. Perhaps it’s the fiery outdoor cooking. Either way, the smoky taste is amazing. The owners and staff of Paniolo understand that attraction for personal enjoyment. Eating at picnic tables adds to the allure. Top it off with live entertainment and you’ve got a reason to gather together. People want to savor and enjoy food. Look no further than Paniolo Santa Maria-Style BBQ. Check out their menu online. Many items are served with homemade chili, fresh garden salad, and grilled garlic bread.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Olive Oil Herb Potatoes! Being raised in the Midwest, practically every evening meal consisted of meat, potato, and vegetable. Perhaps that is why I love potatoes so much. I learned how to make homemade potato soup at the hem of my mother’s apron, without measuring or a recipe. But that’s a story for another day. I like the baby potatoes available now at the supermarket. By slicing them, with the skin on, and drizzling them with herbs and olive oil, the taste is unbelievable! Who wouldn’t fall in love with these tasty little nuggets?
OLIVE OIL HERB POTATOES
5 baby potatoes, washed and sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
2 tablespoons rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 400°. Leaving skin on potatoes, wash thoroughly and pat dry. Put one potato on a soup spoon. Beginning at one end, slice in strips, being careful to stop before slicing the bottom skin. The knife will hit the spoon to prevent it from cutting through. Transfer to a shallow baking dish. Continue until all potatoes are sliced. In a small bowl, mix olive oil, garlic powder, Herbes de Provence, and chopped rosemary leaves. Brush each potato with herbed olive oil, separating slices to coat both sides. Drizzle remaining oil over all. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake potatoes one hour until crispy, basting occasionally. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Neapolitan Tomato Cheese Pizza! Before you roll your eyes, let me explain about Neapolitan pizza. The dough itself is made of four basic ingredients. I like that. The Italian flour makes the dough stretchy and easy to work into shape with your fingers. If you cannot find Italian flour, bread flour is an acceptable substitute. I went on a quest to find it, though. A Neapolitan pizza is made to be eaten with a knife and fork as a personal pan pizza. And it is not precut, simply because the center of the bottom crust is soft and chewy. Trust me, it’s worth every bite. This dough recipe will make six individual servings of thin crust pizza. Bellissimo!
NEAPOLITAN TOMATO CHEESE PIZZA
4 cups Italian “00” flour plus extra flour for dusting
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup tomato sauce
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced rounds
6 basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Combine flour, sea salt, yeast, and water into a Bread Machine. Set to “Dough”. When finished, divide dough into 6 portions, cover each in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 72 hours. Remove 45 minutes prior to preparation for dough to come to room temperature. Transfer one ball of dough to a medium bowl that has a handful of flour in it. Flip to coat. Pat off excess flour and transfer it to a floured surface. Gently stretch dough, with fingertips, into a circle. Pick it up and place it on a sheet of parchment paper. With one hand in the center of the dough round, use the other hand to stretch the edge outward without tearing, rotating as needed. Place the oven rack on its highest setting. You should still be able to place an iron skillet on it. If not, lower the rack. Preheat the Broiler on High. Dust the iron skillet with flour; tap out excess. Heat the empty skillet until it is smoking lightly, approximately 3 minutes. Transfer dough to the skillet. Moving quickly, top the dough with tomato sauce, mozzarella slices, and fresh basil leaves. Sprinkle with kosher salt and drizzle with olive oil. Transfer skillet back to the broiler and cook until pizza is puffed and charred in spots, up to 4 minutes. Watch carefully. Remove from oven. Serve immediately. For more than one pizza, repeat process.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Kung Pao Chicken! When I promise savory, I deliver. Combine sweet and sour, garlic and spice, with the crunch of peanuts, to pull off this do-it-yourself version of a Chinese restaurant favorite. By making it at home, you may have it faster than takeout. One bite and you’ll love it, but remember to share. Add a few red chili peppers for a dynamic taste experience, if you dare.
KUNG PAO CHICKEN
2 cups boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons sherry cooking wine
2 tablespoons soybean sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons chili paste
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 green onions, snipped
8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
Instructions for Marinade:
Mix together 1 tablespoon sherry cooking wine, 1 tablespoon soybean sauce, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and 1 tablespoon water. Stir until smooth. Place chicken chunks in a glass dish. Pour in marinade. Toss to coat. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Instructions for Sauce:
Combine in a glass bowl 1 tablespoon sherry cooking wine, 1 tablespoon soybean sauce, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and 1 tablespoon water. Mix until smooth. Add chili paste, vinegar, honey, brown sugar, and garlic. Stir. Gradually fold in green onions, water chestnuts, and chopped peanuts. Transfer to a medium skillet. Cook on low/medium heat until aromatic, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, remove chicken from marinade. Discard marinade. Sauté chicken chunks in a large skillet until meat is white and juices run clear. As the sauce becomes aromatic, add in sautéed chicken chunks. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens. Serve over noodles or rice.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food for Sharing: Zucchini Spirals over Meatballs! I am intrigued by the Spiralizer. Perhaps because it can take an ordinary vegetable and turn it into a gourmet attraction. And food that looks appealing is that much closer to an instant craving, in my opinion. By taking a shortcut with store bought meatballs and marinara sauce, this meal can be on the table in less than 30 minutes. Boom!
ZUCCHINI SPIRALS OVER MEATBALLS
1-2 zucchini, spiralized
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon capers
1 pound home style meatballs, precooked
1 jar spaghetti sauce, any flavor
Spiralize zucchini into a bowl. They will appear like pasta noodles. Discard spiral stems. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil. Reduce heat and toss zucchini spirals to coat. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Fold in capers. Heat no longer than 2-3 minutes. They should be slightly crunchy. In a large microwave-safe dish, combine meatballs and spaghetti sauce. Heat thoroughly. To serve, top meatballs and sauce with zucchini spirals.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food for Sharing: Whole Roasted Chicken! Go nontraditional this Thanksgiving. Scale things back a bit for an intimate dinner for two. By choosing a free-range whole chicken for roasting, you still afford classic results in each juicy bite. Prepare this succulent bird in half the time. Then go crazy with your favorite sides.
WHOLE ROASTED CHICKEN
3-pound chicken, whole
3 fresh rosemary sprigs
3 tablespoon butter, sliced
1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
5 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350°. Place chicken in a shallow roasting pan. Season cavity with sliced butter. Insert rosemary sprigs. Generously sprinkle outside of bird with Herbs de Provence, onion powder, celery seed, sea salt, and black pepper. Brush skin with melted butter. Bake uncovered 1 1/2 hours. Skin will be golden and internal temperature should read 180°. Juices should run clear. Remove from heat. Baste with drippings. Cover. Let rest 20 minutes to allow juices to absorb before serving.